Japan’s leading gas provider is pursuing investment opportunities with early-stage cleantech startups around the U.S.
Somerville, Mass., August 23, 2018 – Utilities around the world are facing rising pressures from their shareholders and local governments to transition to more renewable energy not only for the long-term viability of the energy provider, but for the good of the planet too. Many utilities recognize innovation doesn’t happen in a vacuum and they’re seeking partners to support their innovation efforts. That’s why Tokyo Gas, Japan’s largest provider of natural gas that’s been in business for more than 130 years and now serves more than 11 million customers, has partnered with Greentown Labs, the largest cleantech startup incubator in the United States, as Terawatt Sponsor, the highest level of engagement with the organization.
In early 2017, Tokyo Gas implemented an open innovation strategy and began establishing company outposts in leading innovation hubs around the world. Planting roots in new locations including Menlo Park, CA, and Boston, MA, is an effort to better connect Tokyo Gas with startups on both coasts that present promising cleantech innovations. The utility provider is looking to incorporate innovations into its portfolio either through direct investment, partnership opportunities or internal R&D.
Tokyo Gas executives leading the open innovation effort are working closely with their colleagues at Acario Innovation, the US-based subsidiary of Tokyo Gas focused on corporate venturing and partnerships. Together, Acario Innovation and Tokyo Gas are working to bring more sustainable energy solutions to the world through R&D, investments, and partnerships with the industry’s leading incubators, corporates, labs, and venture capitalists.
“Both Tokyo Gas and Greentown Labs are committed to clean energy innovation and through our partnership we’re helping early-stage startups commercialize their technologies and ultimately get to market faster,” said Ted Huang, Chief Digital Investment Officer, Tokyo Gas. “We have an established presence in Menlo Park and we’re eager to become more engaged with the East Coast cleantech community as well. We see these two areas as key energy innovation centers of the world, and we hope to use the experiences gained here to expand into other key global innovation hot spots.”
As the newest member of the Greentown Labs community, Tokyo Gas and Acario Innovation will gain direct access to a broad network of innovative and up-and-coming technology startups, including members of Greentown Labs and the greater Boston ecosystem. Additionally,
Tokyo Gas’s one-year sponsorship of Greentown Labs includes a “Corporate Innovation Day” and a “Startup Pitch Day,” both of which focus on external innovation strategies and provide the utility executives with a variety of pitches from startups across the cleantech sectors.
Hiroaki Izuma, Business Development Director at Tokyo Gas Digital Innovation, will join the Greentown Labs Advisory Board which meets quarterly to provide strategic guidance and recommendations to Greentown Labs. The Advisory Board is largely comprised of Greentown Labs’ Terawatt Sponsors, university executives, and industry leaders.
“We’re proud to have Tokyo Gas deepening their ties to the East Coast by working closely with our community of innovative cleantech startups,” said Dr. Emily Reichert, Chief Executive Officer, Greentown Labs. “Tokyo Gas has a wealth of knowledge to share and we’re confident many great relationships between their organization and our early-stage companies will develop as a result of their partnership.”
The 100,000 sq. ft. Greentown Labs campus, located in Somerville, MA, provides startups with a robust network of strategic partners, prototyping lab space, a wet lab, a machine shop, electronics shop, office space for more than 450 entrepreneurs, a 600-person event space, and a variety of flexible membership options.
About Greentown Labs
Greentown Labs is a community of bold, passionate entrepreneurs creating world-changing energy technologies that transform the way we live, work, and play. Located in Somerville, Mass., and founded in 2011, the Greentown Labs Global Center for Cleantech Innovation is the largest cleantech incubator in the United States, operating a 100,000 sq. ft. campus that empowers entrepreneurs to solve today’s biggest energy and environmental problems. Its mission is to enable a vibrant community of startups to realize their visions by providing access to the resources, labs, and funding they need to thrive. For more information, please visit www.greentownlabs.com or find us on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn.
About Tokyo Gas
Tokyo Gas is the largest gas utility company in Japan serving over 11 million gas customers for over 130 years primarily in Tokyo metropolitan area and surrounding Kanto region. In April 2016, Tokyo Gas entered the electricity business when the Japanese power market was deregulated. The company has since gained over one million customers. Its core businesses are in city gas distribution, LNG sales, electric power business, and other related home services. Our long standing trusted brand in Japan as well as the abilities to reach end customers via existing channels serve as a key value for our partners.
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